Porta 6 is a Portuguese wine that I was not familiar with until last week. Would I like to meet the wine makers for a night of tasting and painting at Paint Cabin? Uh, YEAH. Sadly, Portuguese wines are often overshadowed by the wines of Italy, Spain and France. Thankfully, I feel like they are finally getting their due. Needless to say, I was very excited to try something new.

I love a creative media event and, therefore, jumped at the chance to drink yummy wine, talk Portugal and paint. I can never get enough of Lisbon anything – go and get bitten by my Lisbon bug here. Getting to paint the iconic yellow Lisbon tram was just the icing sugar on the Pasteis de Nata.

It’s amazing how much a couple glasses of wine can loosen you up and allow you to release your inner artist. I was blown away by all of the amazing artwork

Porta 6

Porta 6 is one of the lines of wine made by Vidigal , a Portuguese winery that promises great tasting wines at reasonable prices. I got to chat a bit with Mauro Azóia about the two wines that he was sharing with us and find out a bit about their philosophy.

“We are delighted to craft Porta 6 from Lisboa which is such a special region in Portugal,” says Porta 6 winemaker Mauro Azóia “It’s easy drinking and pairs well with food, or even on its own, which has made both our red and white wines very popular in Ontario and around the world”.

The red is a blend of Portuguese grapes that are not well known here. It’s a blend of 50% Aragonez, 40% Castelão and 10% Touriga Nacional. It is one of the top ten Portuguese wines at the LCBO and a delicious, jammy, well priced table wine. This will absolutely join the roster of our house reds.

The Paint Cabin

Delicious food, loot bags for the big toddlers and my interpretation of the label’s artwork created by German Illustrator, Hauke Vagt. My painting (on the lower right) may or may not have been chosen in 3rd place in a little contest. If you’re not third, you’re last!

Can I tell you how much fun we had creating a painting at the Paint Cabin at Gerrard East? The staff were so patient, helpful and enthusiastic. I would absolutely go back again and it would make a great spot to have a birthday party or any group get together.

My absolute favourite thing to eat in Portugal are the clams with white wine and garlic. The thing that sets them apart from similar dishes in Italy or Spain is the inclusion of cilantro instead of parsley. I can say that I eat a bowl of these clams at least once a day when I am there. It follows that the first thing I did with this new Portuguese white, was throw it in a big batch of clams.

For my clams, I used the Porta 6 White Wine ( $12.96 at the LCBO) This white uses two French grapes we are more familiar with along with two from the Lisbon region – 25% Arinto, 25% Viosinho, 25% Chardonay e 25%Viognier. It’s is a nice, light, fruity wine with a hit of citrus. It was perfect in the dish and, of course, we drank the rest of the bottle with dinner. Porta 6 white will make a great summer sipper and at this price, I might buy a case of it to have on hand for porch season.

Portuguese Garlic Clams

Ingredients:

2 lbs small clams (little neck work well), cleaned and rinsed

1 tbls olive oil

4 tbls butter

4 cloves garlic, sliced thin

a scant 1/4 cup Portuguese white wine

handful of cilantro , chopped

juice from two lemons

more lemons cut into chunks

Directions:

Melt the butter and olive oil in a deep pan or pot with a well fitting lid over medium heat. Saute the garlic in there for just a couple of minutes. Keep an eye on it as you don’t want the butter or the garlic to brown. Add in the wine and turn the heat up to medium high.

Throw in the clams and give the pan a good shake, put the lid on and let them steam for about 7 to 10 minutes, giving a good shake at least a couple of times,  until all of the shells have opened. Pour in the lemon juice and add in the cilantro and give them a good stir.  Pour everything into a big, shallow serving bowl and return the unopened clams to the pot with a spoonful of juice and cook for another 2 or 3 minutes. Discard any clams that remain unopened and add the opened clams to the serving bowl.

Serve with fresh bread for dipping in the buttery sauce and the rest of the bottle of Porta 6 to drink.

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